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Janelle on Dan's Traitors betrayal, secret alliances & stanning Sandra

Janelle on Dan's 'Traitors' betrayal, secret alliances & stanning Sandra

Janelle Pierzina on The Traitors season 2

In an interview with PRIDE, Janelle breaks down her gameplay, alliances, and betrayals on The Traitors season 2. Plus, she reveals which legendary Big Brother winner she wants to see on Traitors next.


For over three decades, Janelle Pierzina has been solidifying herself as one of the most iconic, entertaining, and competitive reality TV stars of all time.

Since her debut on Big Brother 6 and immediate return on Big Brother 7: All-Stars, Janelle has also competed on Big Brother 14, Big Brother 22: All-Stars, and The Amazing Race 31. In 2024, this legend came back to compete once again on the star-studded cast of The Traitors season 2.

This was Janelle’s second time competing on a TV show with Dan Gheesling, as they were both featured on BB14. Unfortunately, just like last time, the potential alliance that Janelle and Dan could’ve developed together turned into both of them turning against each other. In episode 5, Janelle targeted Dan for banishment, and Dan turned the target on Janelle. Dan lived to see another way, whereas Janelle was eliminated.

During her exit interview with PRIDE, Janelle opened up about her secret alliances on the show, why her trust in Dan was broken, how she felt competing against Survivor legends, and which high-profile Big Brother winner she’d like to see in a future season of The Traitors. We had a full kiki with Janelle, so brace yourselves for the gags and the goops!

Scroll through to read PRIDE’s interview with Janelle about The Traitors season 2 — and keep tuning in every Thursday for new episodes on Peacock.

PRIDE: Generally speaking, how would you compare competing on The Traitors season 2 with competing on Big Brother four times?

Janelle: I would say that the biggest difference is the time. It's so fast-paced. There isn't much time to strategize at all. I think you only get — I timed it out — like 70 minutes a day to talk to people when you're not filming. So, not much time to strategize, which is a big change. On Big Brother, you have six days, which is nice. I like that. So, that was the biggest change for me: the timing and how quickly the game moves.

I've been watching you and writing about you on Big Brother for a very long time. I'm a huge fan. It was interesting to see that certain players on The Traitors were calling you 'selfish' for always going for the shield during competitions. But I kept thinking, 'I feel like Janelle is just operating from a mindset of competing for immunity on Big Brother,' like in the Head of Household (HOH) and Power of Veto (POV) competitions. Do you feel like you weren't able to explain that mindset on The Traitors?

I think the people that did call me selfish were people who were not from competitive reality shows. They didn't understand that I was trying to save myself in the game. [A competition on The Traitors] is a team sport, to some aspect of it… but individually, if there is an opportunity to get yourself immunity, you should go for it. That's part of the game, too.

In fact, that's the game that they're showing you how to play. Like, 'Hey, there's some immunity here. What do you want to do?' I think there was a lot of talk in the castle of, 'Oh, so-and-so got to play in the last shield competition. Why don't we let someone else now?' And it's like, that someone else is not in danger. I felt like, when I played for the shield, I was 1000 percent in danger.

The first merger, I was like, 'John [Bercow] is coming for me.' I didn't know who the Traitors were, and I was vocal at the roundtable. I'm the one who said John had a breathing problem. If John happened to be a Traitor, I could die. The second time, I came in last to breakfast that day. I definitely felt like I was up for f*cking murder, so you don't think I'm going to go for a shield? Are you dumb?

I also tried to tell people why I was going for the shield. I said, 'I was last in breakfast,' and they were like, 'What does that mean?' And I'm like, 'Oh my god. I can't. I can't do this.' And then the last shield that I competed for, we were all going after Dan. You think I'm not going to go for the shield if I'm going after an actual Traitor who I knew for a fact was a Traitor? Duh, of course.

It's frustrating to see that every time you compete in these shows, everyone's always determined not to believe you, not to play with you, keep being suspicious of you. But I guess that's also the beautiful and entertaining part: watching you handle those situations. And yet, it was really exciting to watch you on The Traitors being a competition beast again. You were kicking ass and doing your best to get those shields. Do you have any favorite competitions from the show, or ones that you really didn't like?

A favorite? I don't know. I guess the grave one, because that was very competitive and very stressful. But I wouldn't say that I hated any of them. I love competing. I love all competition.

I remember watching you in the Big Brother 22: All-Stars live feeds, when you were talking to Ian Terry about how you expected Dan to be there and that you would've loved to work with him. Did you still have that mindset when you first saw Dan on The Traitors?

Yeah! Dan and I very much worked together in the first few episodes. I was telling him who was coming for him. We were definitely working behind the scenes. We had something going on. I always wanted to continue that relationship, but it was a difficult balance. It was like, okay, I know that this guy is a Traitor, but he's the closest Traitor to me. So I kept trying to find the other Traitors. I always thought that there were four, which was dumb, I know. But that's what was in my mind.

But where it fell apart for Dan and I was… after a while, I had given him so much information. 'This is who's saying your name. This is who's coming for you.' And I wanted to hear from him. 'I want you to slip me who the other Traitors are. Give me a name.'

I begged him, 'Dan, it's getting to the point where I need a name. I've got to go for a f*cking Traitor, or I'm going to be out of this game.' He replied, 'I can't do it. I'm not ready. I'm not ready.' It was at that moment that I decided, 'I have no choice but to not work with you because you aren't willing to work with me.' It sucked.

I really like Dan and I think he's a phenomenal Big Brother winner… but you are the Queen of Big Brother for a lot of us old-school gay fans of Big Brother. So, hm, most of us have a side here that we're taking [laughs]. I was just hoping that you would take out Dan on The Traitors as revenge for him turning against you on Big Brother 14.

Yeah, I know. I mean, if he can make it past next week… I mean, this is going to be better than Dan's Funeral. Let's just say that.

I was thinking the same thing, because how is he going to get out of this?

I threw everything but the kitchen sink at the guy. I mean, seriously, this was a 40-minute fight edited down to two minutes!

There was a point in the roundtable discussions when Dan said, 'The way I'm playing this game is the way I played on Big Brother.' You replied, 'And you won Big Brother.' And I was like, 'That's it! She got him! They're going to believe her!' But that's not how it went.

The votes were locked in. It's annoying because MJ and Kevin's votes were locked, and the Bravo [cast members'] votes were locked. Phaedra was going to protect the Traitors and vote with Bravo because they wanted me gone. So I was gone.

I have to say, I really liked seeing Bergie standing up for you. I feel like Bergie represented a lot of us on that table. He was like, 'No, I believe Janelle. What are you guys doing?' How did you feel about that?

They can't show everything, but there's so much that goes on between the contestants. We had 'The Alliance of Faithfuls,' and we were so tight, and I feel like they'll stay together through this game. We were very tight and they always had my back… so they were pissed! They were like, 'We know it's Dan.'

They were just more annoyed at Kevin [Kreider]. Kevin is so annoying. We know that he's a Faithful, we know MJ is a Faithful, but they just wouldn't listen to us. It's like they were blinded by me going for a shield. They also kept on bringing up Ekin-Su's poisoning. Like, 'Janelle was the one that wanted Ekin-Su dead.' I told them that they need to get over that. That I didn't poison Ekin-Su.

You've always been a big Survivor fan. What was it like to compete on a show with Parvati [Shallow] and Sandra [Diaz-Twine]?

Oh my god. It was a dream come true, and I said that to Sandra. I told her, 'This is a dream come true for me.' Like, 'What else happens in my life? I'm here with you, Sandra.' I love Parvati to death, but Sandra is my favorite player ever. I love her. So I told her that this was a dream come true for me, and she was like, 'Okay, that's cool' [laughs].

And Sandra and I did work together. I think that's where a lot of my hatred came from. I was so angry at Sandra because we had worked together in our dumb 'Gamers Alliance' thing. We had voted together every time. She came to me and Bergie trying to get our vote for the [Maksim Chmerkovskiy] thing. She wanted to go after Maks. And I was like, 'Yeah, absolutely.' Then again, 'Sure, Sandra, I'll go after Larissa.' But on the day that I'm on the hot seat, she doesn't even come and talk to me or ask me for my vote. I felt like she was so cemented with Dan.

I was like, 'How dare CT [Tamburello] and Sandra not ask how I'm voting this week?' When every other day went like, 'Where are we voting?' That's why I knew. The writing's on the wall when you play these games. If someone you've been working with doesn't come to you, and they start acting differently, you're done. You're never getting those votes.

Sandra is playing a very smart game. She has a Real Housewives alliance. She has an alliance with the 'gamers.' She's very well-positioned, which is interesting.

She is well-positioned. She is. I saw her working over the Housewives pretty hard, and I thought that it was great. I think she's playing really well, but people are also already suspecting her. She pushed so hard with Maks, and we're like, 'What the hell is going on?' Sandra pushed hard for that one, which is why I was onto her. Why did she care about me and Bergie voting for fricking Maks? Who cares who we vote out? But whatever.

Were you able to build good friendships with anyone from this cast? Who do you still keep in touch with?

Yeah, I talk to Bergie and Trishelle all the time. I still talk to Dan all the time. I also talk to Sandra, Peter [Weber], and Tamra [Judge] a lot. So, yeah, I made some good friendships in there, for sure.

My last question is: which Big Brother player would you love to see competing in a future season of The Traitors?

Hmm. I'd love to see Derrick [Levasseur] from season 16, but he has to be a Faithful! Don't make him a Traitor. I want to see him as a Faithful.

Janelle, you are blowing my mind. That's the most brilliant idea ever.

Yeah, I want a role reversal. This man, I don't want him having power, because I am convinced playing as a Faithful is way harder. So I want him to play as a Faithful. I would've also loved to see Dan play as a Faithful.

That is an amazing answer. Can you imagine Derrick playing as a Faithful?

It'd be freaking great. That's what I want to see. Those are the moments I want on my television.

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Bernardo Sim


Bernardo Sim is experiencing the queer pop culture multiverse. Born in Brazil, he currently lives in South Florida.

Bernardo Sim is experiencing the queer pop culture multiverse. Born in Brazil, he currently lives in South Florida.